Security Awareness Blog

Security Awareness - Small Points, Big Issues

A key lesson I continually learn is how important culture plays in an awareness program. If your program is not customized to or ignores the culture you are communicating to, your program will have limited impact. If end users can easily relate to your program then it will have far greater success. The challenge is even the smallest details can make a difference. Here is just one of many examples.

About a year ago I was working on an awareness program for a large, international organization. One of the things we wanted to do was communicate to people how their computers and their information was worth money to cyber criminals. In a training video we showed money, this communicated the concept of the value of their information. The problem was, our video had just American dollars, yet end users were not only in America but the UK and Europe. Employees in the UK and Europe did not relate to the training as it was "American focused". One option was to create separate training materials for each type of end user, but the problem becomes which end users? How do we know who is going to watch when? In addition, costs can quickly grow if you are maintaining multiple programs.

An alternative was to simply communicate with the same imagery of money, but to show multiple currencies, including British pounds and European Euro's. We ended up using this option as it simplified the program. Now all of the end users could easily relate to the training. In addition, this helped demonstrate the global nature of cyber attackers. Always keep in mind your intended audience, especially for larger or diverse organizations. The smallest details can have the greatest impact. What you may feel is not important others will.